Sep 032010

The problem with international breaks is that they ruin the flow of the season. We spend so long looking forward to the big kick-off, and then just three games later watch in frustration as largely uncompetitive internationals take over. And, inevitably, result in injuries we could really do without.

Take tonight’s European Championship qualifiers. Twenty two games, and almost all were entirely predictable. Only two results raised eyebrows – Portugal’s 4-4 draw with Cyprus and France’s defeat at home to Belarus – but both nations have a myriad of issues that contributed to the failures. The fact is – there are now so many poor footballing nations in Europe (and so many nations full stop) that 80% of the matches are walkovers, ensuring that only a tiny fraction of games are appealing enough to retain our interest. The majority of the time we simply count down the days until the real football resumes. It is a sad indictment of the national game.

Of course, club football can be ugly too, most notably around the closing of the transfer window. Never mind that Wenger has tackled one of last season’s problems by bringing in a target man and a genuine aerial threat, or that we have genuine competition for places at centre back again. No, ignore all that – he didn’t pay over the odds for a 37 year old keeper that has never before attracted the attention of a top club, so he must be ruining our great club. Sack him, sack him now.

At least, that is the opinion of an ever growing number, fuelled into a frenzy by a series of hit-grabbing blogs (and, sadly, some mainstream newspapers fighting for a slice of the pie). Controversy sucks people in, leading many to the conclusion that an outlandish opinion is better than a sensible one. Balance is hard to come by.

My opinion? I’m disappointed that we didn’t sign a keeper, but then I was disappointed that Schwarzer was the extent of our ambition in the first place, as I don’t think he adds anything in terms of quality – all he would have been is a clean slate. The difficulty comes when attempting to name a keeper who wouldhave been an inspiring signing. Three names are bandied around at will – Lloris, Hart and Given. Do I really need to explain why all three are impossible recruits?

I understand the frustration of those who wanted a new number one, but what I cannot fathom is why some are suggesting our team is in ruins because Almunia will continue. Those writing off our chances clearly don’t look at our rivals – that they have weaknesses is an oft missed fact.

It is surely time to look forward. The Fabianski ‘trial’ in pre-season is over, and by comparison Almunia is playing like Gordon Banks. To be fair to Manuel, he has so far escaped the glut of goalkeeping errors that have littered the opening weeks of the season. Long may that continue.

Take a step back, and realise that our summer business has been pretty good overall. And we haven’t exactly started the season badly either.

  5 Responses to “Internationals almost make you miss the transfer window”

  1. Spot on. So many “fans” have already written off their own team! Thank God all of the ones writing off the team already are the armchair fans and who never have and never intend to go to a match unless Arsenal win the treble. Im sure these fake fans will flock to somewhere else sooner or later. Our displays so far this season show no indication that we are in any trouble. Our defence has been slippy at times, but already we have shown that we can overcome the physical and aerial battle from Blackburn, something which last season was our downfall. In Liverpool we werent at our best, though still managed to grind out a draw, all of which are characteristics of champions, and the reason Man U and Chelsea have won the league for the last few years. They play shit, yet can win matches.

  2. I agree and disagree to a certain extent .. yes their is and has been a tendency to as you put it write off our team. But with reason .. such as no depth in the squad.. yes our first team can give any one a game. But their were missing elements with the cover.

    I completely agree it has been a great summer in the transfer market. I was happy to see where we have strengthened and im looking forward to seeing our new member from the foreign legion .. maybe against bolton, he might get a run out i hear.

    However .. The one area everyone agreed that we needed to sort out was our No.1 Its been talked to death..
    This is why you have the moaners.. To many clangers and your bound to get even the pundits jumping on the band waggon..

    For example.. 1st game.. Liverpool. Ngog goal .. he got massively critised for this . But let me tell you. that was a bullet. i would like to know who would have saved it.. Hart maybe ..
    Little get mentioned of Wilshire for giving the ball away in that position .. which lead to one touch through ball .. back of the net.. What about poor little jack whom i might say looked alittle out of his depth.. (one for the future – think we will start to see the best from him next year and into next season..
    ..any way.. What i mean is people are now.. over analyzing Almunia and everything he does is under the magnifying glass. It almost feels like people are quite when he makes a great save and are waiting for a mistake they can go .. ‘See i told you Wenger should have bought a keeper.. we never gunner win the title with him.. ‘ blabla you get the picture..

    He is our number 1 for now and thats that. Whats more hes a confidence player from what i hear from someone at the training ground . Id really like to see people sing his name. I Bet his performances would improve. Probably why hes been given the armband while cesc was chilling from the WC .

    If he does funk up in a big way i would imagine we might see another arsharvin style January swoop.. But it would have to be a Clanger of epic proportions.. Remember Lehman.. for along time he had his critics .. But wenger has a habit of sticking with his keepers + our Jewish board and Champions league Cup tied keepers.. and every other excuse they will dream up to maximise profits get by with what we have got whilst not damaging the brand and paying our shareholders a massive dividend.

    LOL ranter over.. Last part is partially tongue and cheek.

    Plenty to be optimistic.. I am for the first time in a while quietly confident.. We will be picking up silverware

  3. I’m just interested to know what exactly an ‘armchair’ fan is…
    Because I have in fact only ever been to one match at the emirates – the youth cup semi final against man united for £1.
    Does the fact that i don’t go and watch matches at the stadium mean I’m not a ‘true fan’, because I would never miss an arsenal match unless there were some truly exceptional circumstances which i could do nothing about. Also I refuse to pay over £30 a month for skysports, so I watch every match through quite perfect links on the Internet. I would just like to know where my behaviour would rank in the true fan list.
    I read through newsnow everyday and never miss watching a match, but I will never buy a season ticket or tickets or even spend money on unnecessary arsenal merchandise…. There is no reason form me writing the comment other than me being extremely bored. And I have come to my own conclusion after writing this comment – I’m just plain stingy, or it could just be because I’m 16.
    Anyway I quite like being an ‘armchair’ fan because they’re pretty comfortable.

  4. “Armchair” are the fans who dont make stupid coment, speach to our Arsenal club, manegement, Arsene and all the players, they are 100% behind the team,
    let me give u examples: if ur family (mother, father,sister, brother,son and wife or husband) do u come out and talking st… coment about them? No, no, no, u will be real disapoitment in own life, shame on u, every one they will ask them them self, he is crazy? Or..
    Please guy come on and be the true fans and not fack fans.

  5. I don’t agree with you about international matches;not because I don’t think they’re boring, but to say that they’re boring because 20 of the 22 matches played were predictable is not the right logic imo. Even in the PL, taken over 2 weekends, do you really think that there will be more than 3-4 matches like Wigan 1-0 Spurs?

    But fully agree re the GK issue, except I hold Schwarzer in higher esteem than you :P

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